Friday FabOoolousness – Donna Galanti’s A Human Element

I first met Donna Galanti on Twitter and we’ve since had the opportunity to get to know each other a little bit better by following each other’s blogs and keeping track of one another on Facebook.  But Donna is more than just a friendly face on social media; she is accomplished (holds a B.A. in English, has a background in marketing, and previously published a memoir, Letters from BootCamp via iUniverse) and is very well traveled.

Author Donna Galanti

Many of us hope and dream of one day visiting as many locations around the globe as Donna has lived (from England to Hawaii).  She has dreamed of being a writer since the age of seven when she fell in love with the worlds of Narnia and Roald Dahl. Here’s the best part: Donna lived in England at the time, attending school in a magical castle where her imagination ran wild in an itchy uniform (bowling hat and tie included).

Donna now lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, son, and two crazy cats in an old farmhouse. It has lots of writing nooks, fireplaces and stink bugs, but she’s still wishing for a castle again.  Aren’t we all?

This month, Donna debuts her paranormal suspense novel, A Human Element.   How about a taste?

A Human Element:

One by one, Laura Armstrong’s friends and adoptive family members are being murdered, and despite her unique healing powers, she can do nothing to stop it. The savage killer haunts her dreams, tormenting her with the promise that she is next. Determined to find the killer, she follows her visions to the site of a crashed meteorite–her hometown. There, she meets Ben Fieldstone, who seeks answers about his parents’ death the night the meteorite struck. In a race to stop a mad man, they unravel a frightening secret that binds them together. But the killer’s desire to destroy Laura face-to-face leads to a showdown that puts Laura and Ben’s emotional relationship and Laura’s pure spirit to the test. With the killer closing in, Laura discovers her destiny is linked to his and she has two choices–redeem him or kill him.

A Human Element releases March 15th.

*****

When you were a little girl, did you dream of one day writing a bestseller, or did you have something else in mind?

I don’t think I thought of it in ‘best seller’ terms but since I was about seven I knew I wanted to be a writer. That and an actress! I fantasized about my books being made into movies and I was the star.

Where do you find the inspiration for your stories?

I think I’m best answering where do I find inspiration. All my stories come to me as visions when I am alone and without distraction. These days, it’s on a long walk.

Who are a few of your favorite authors?

Dean Koontz. Bill Bryson. Stephen King. John Grisham. LaVyrle Spencer (need something light at times!).

The cover art for your book is amazing.  Did you design it yourself?

Thanks so much! My publisher did it, Echelon Press. I told her the concept I wanted and she got it right on. Dean Koontz like.

Many writers imagine a celebrity or familiar face when developing their characters.  Did you have anyone particular in mind when writing Laura and why?

I didn’t have a celebrity in mind but I created her as part of me and part of what I wished to be. She had the same childhood as me, growing up an only child on a mountain where she would roam the woods and climb trees to sing from.

Speaking of celebrities, who are you thinking of at this very moment?

Sigh….Daniel Craig. Just watched him the other night in Casino Royale for the 100th time. When it first came out I was a little crazed with him and that movie…rented it five times in a row On Demand. My husband damn near killed me.

Besides writing, what other hobbies do you enjoy?

Biking, kayaking (ahhh, down the Brandywine River, PA in the Fall) and hiking. My hubby and I did many long distance charity rides including the MS 150. Our son is doing his first one this summer.

You have lived all over the globe. Which of your hometown destinations is your favorite and why?

Cobham Surrey, England! It’s so historic and old and beautiful. We lived in the old caretaker’s house of this old grand estate called White Tops. It even came with a gardener. It was a place of days gone by where I’d walk down the country lane to school and feed horses along the way. Each day the fish man would bring kippers for breakfast and the milk man would drop glass bottles at our door…and clotted cream some days!

I wouldn’t be myself without asking about television – what are your four favorite television programs airing today? 

I hardly have four shows I watch. I’m stuck in time and watch my old fave ones on Netflix. Just finished up the entire show of West Wing.

But here goes: Law & Order SVU and CSI. There are others I’d like to catch but haven’t found time to watch.  The other two? Don’t laugh, but I love to watch Big Time Rush and the Wizards of Waverly Place with my son.

What is your favorite movie all-time?

OMG, it’s sooooo G-L-A-D-I-A-T-O-R. The story, brutal scenes, Russell Crowe, the tormented Maximus (I wanted to name my son Maximus but that got nixed), the music, the cinematography…did I mention Russell Crowe? Sigh…

Maximus. Enough said.

What snacks do you order when at a movie theater? 

I don’t! Really!

Lastly, you claim to make up songs to be silly.  Would you like to share one with us now?  

Oh, boy, you got me good! This is a song about my son when he was a toddler (he would die if he knew I gave you this! I have icky 9-year old boy ones now, but won’t share those – LOL).

Sung to ‘Here Comes Santa Claus’:

Here comes Mommy, Here comes Mommy
Right down Mommy Lane.
She snuggles and hugs
and kisses away the pain!
Give your mommy all your love
and all your boo-boo’s too
cause your mommy will keep you safe
and give you ice cream too!

*****

Seriously, that may be the cutest song ever!  You fully exceeded my expectations, Donna!  Thank you!

Isn’t Donna great?  Don’t worry – everyone can have a little more Donna…

LIKEherAuthor Facebook page for news and updates! Her blog/book tour runs March 19th through April 11th with book giveaways, more guest posts, interview fun, and a chance to win the big prize giveaway! So pop over to her blogto see thefull tour schedule.  Remember to follow her on Twitter too.

Do you have a question for Donna?  Have you been lucky enough to live anywhere special like Donna’s English home at White Tops?  Do you have any “original” songs that you’d like to share with Donna, since she so generously shared “Here Comes Mommy” with us?  I’d love to hear from you! 

And one last thing: mark your calendars for the A Human Element e-book and paperback release, Thursday, March 15th.

Reviewers are saying…
“A HUMAN ELEMENT is an elegant and haunting first novel. Unrelenting, devious but full of heart. Highly recommended.” –Jonathan Maberry, New York Times best-selling author of ASSASSIN’S CODE and DEAD OF NIGHT

“A HUMAN ELEMENT is a haunting look at what it means to be human. It’s a suspenseful ride through life and love…and death, with a killer so evil you can’t help but be afraid. An excellent read.” –Janice Gable Bashman, author of WANTED UNDEAD OR ALIVE, nominated for a Bram Stoker Award.

Friday FabOoolousness – Kait Nolan, Seeing Red

I first met Kait Nolan online in early 2011.  She was actually one of the first writers to help me understand the Twitterverse and practically held my hand as I started my new journey into social media.

Author Kait Nolan

Not only is Kait friendly, she is multi-talented and strives to assist other writers on a daily basis.  First and foremost, she writes paranormal romance (YA and adult) – the reason we’re featuring her today here at Friday FabOoolousness.  Kait also blogs, sharing tasty meals and gluten-free treats with the rest of us.  But perhaps even more impressive than her writing and culinary skills, is the fact that Kait manages a self-created online writing community and challenge, A Round of Words in Eighty Days, or Row80 to the “rowers”.

I’m a proud Row80 participant, and I recommend it to any and all writers – published and non-published.  Heck, I would shout it from the rooftops if I didn’t think my neighbors would call the cops.  Row80 is one of the best communities of writers on the Internet today.  Rowers encourage others, support one another, and help each other to the finish line.  All because of Kait…

Did I mention that Kait has one of the best personalities and senses of humor out there?  Don’t believe me?

Just read her bio:

Kait Nolan is stuck in an office all day, sometimes juggling all three of her jobs at once with the skill of a trained bear—sometimes with a similar temperament. After hours, she uses her powers for good, creating escapist fiction. The work of this Mississippi native is packed with action, romance, and the kinds of imaginative paranormal creatures you’d want to sweep you off your feet…or eat your boss.  When she’s not working or writing, she’s in her kitchen, heading up a revolution to Retake Homemade from her cooking blog, Pots and Plots.

Red:

Every fairy tale has a dark side…

Elodie Rose has a secret. Any day, she’ll become a wolf and succumb to the violence that’s cursed her family for centuries. For seventeen years she’s hidden who and what she is. But now someone knows the truth and is determined to exterminate her family line. Living on borrowed time in the midst of this dangerous game of hide and seek, the last thing Elodie needs to do is fall in love. But Sawyer is determined to protect her, and the brooding, angry boy is more than what he seems. Can they outsmart a madman? And if they survive, will they find a way to beat the curse for good?

*****

When you were a little girl, did you dream of one day writing a bestseller, or did you have something else in mind?

Oh heck yeah.  I’ve been telling stories to entertain myself since I was knee-high, as I was the only girl in a neighborhood of boys who thought I had cooties (silly boys).  I couldn’t imagine a better job than telling stories for a living, so I set my cap on that when I was twelve years old, and other than a handful of detours for stuff like, you know, college and master’s degrees, I haven’t wavered.

Where do you find the inspiration for your stories?

There’s no one place.  A snatch of conversation.  Random articles from the net.  A scrap of a fairy tale or myth.  Dreams.  Sometimes just a random “what if…?” thought.

Who are a few of your favorite authors?

Nalini Singh, J.R. Ward, Cassandra Clare, Lilith Saintcrow, Maggie Stiefvater, Nora Roberts, Marjorie M. Liu, and Madeleine L’Engle.   This list could get REALLY long…

The cover art for Red is amazing.  Did you design it yourself?

Oh good God no.  I hired a professional cover designer, Robin Ludwig of Robin Ludwig Designs.  She’s amazingly talented and has done all but one of my covers.

Many writers imagine a celebrity or familiar face when developing their characters.  Did you have anyone particular in mind when writing your protagonist Elodie Rose and why?

I often do, but in this particular case, I had the cover art done early on, so I really had the girl from the cover in my head.

Speaking of celebrities, who are you thinking of at this very moment?

Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn.  We’re watching Return of the King on Bluray.

Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn; I really liked him in The Perfect Murder.

In addition to writing, you publish a weekly food blog titled “Pots and Plots” and you founded the Round of Words in Eighty Days Challenge, more commonly known as Row80 to the Twitterverse.  How do you find the time? 

I am freakishly organized and possibly need an intervention for my addiction to lists.  But mostly it’s that you find time for what you love.  I’m going to cook anyway and calculate all the nutrition information for my meals, which I am gonna write down anyway in order to remember and make it again. It doesn’t take much more time to take pics and put everything up at Pots and Plots—which I actually started so I could access all my favorite recipes from anywhere without needing to take my recipe box.  As for ROW80, well each round I’m joined by ten fabulous sponsors who help me crack the whip, I mean inspire everybody to keep going.

What other hobbies do you enjoy that we don’t know about?

I’m into photography, horseback riding (which I haven’t had an opportunity to do in ages), and hiking.

I wouldn’t be myself without asking about television… What are your favorite television programs airing today? 

NCIS, Bones, Once Upon a Time, Grimm, and Rizzoli & Isles

What is your favorite movie all-time?

It is so not possible to answer that question.  Pride and Prejudice (BBC mini-series), Star Wars the original trilogy only, and the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy

What snacks do you order when at a movie theater? 

Sour Patch Kids and popcorn—butter please!

You write paranormal romance.  Name your favorite book, movie, and television series featuring the paranormal. 

Book: Again, not a fair question to try to narrow it down, but I suppose by dint of how many times I’ve read it, City of Bones by Cassandra Clare.

Movie: Ok, I really had to think about this one because everything that comes to mind is not actually paranormal, it’s fantasy.  I think I’d have to say Stardust because it’s a combination of both.  Or maybe Xmen.  Love Wolverine.

TV series: Um, Buffy, hello?  Followed closely by the first four seasons of Supernatural.  Love me some Dean.

Dean Winchester...enough said.

Before we go, do you believe in fairy tales?

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy…In all fairy tales there is a grain of truth.  Who are we to say which grain is true?

*****

Need more Kait?  Catch up with her at her blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads accounts.

Do you have a question for Kait?  Have you read Red – if so, share your thoughts.  What’s your favorite fairy tale – actual tale, TV adaptation, or movie and why?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Before we go, remember to grab your copy of Red if you haven’t already!  Available in ebook from Smashwords, Amazon, Amazon UK, Amazon DESony, the iBookstore, Diesel Ebooks, XinXii, and All Romance EBooks.

Also available in paperback from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, The Book Depository (free international shipping!) and Createspace.

*****

And last but not least, here is a taste of a few of Kait’s other stories…enjoy!

Paranormal beings exist, among us, around us. Their strictest rule: keep the secret.

Forsaken by Shadow

When Embry’s father is kidnapped by human scientists and the Council of Races makes a firm decision of non-intervention, enforcer Embry Hollister must turn her back on her job and her government to go rogue and seek the help of the one great love from her past. Banished from her world years ago, his memory wiped, Cade Shepherd has a new name, a new life, and no knowledge her kind exist. Can he relearn the Shadow Walker skills he learned from her father? And, if they survive, will Embry be able to walk away again?

Devil’s Eye

Trouble. That’s what wolf-shifter Mick thinks when a beautiful woman appears in his New Orleans bar with a hurricane at her back. His first impression is confirmed when Sophie starts asking questions about his missing waitress, Liza. Mick will do anything to rescue a member of the pack he’s made for himself, including forming an unlikely alliance with a woman with a badge.

Blindsight

Isla’s ability as a Seer has made her a life-long captive of a paranormal crime lord. Fae assassin, Ransom, offers her a chance at escape, but when she touches his hand she sees only blood, horror, and apocalypse. What reason can Ransom have for wanting to rescue her, and can she possibly trust a man who deals in death?

Genesis…it’s only the beginning

Genesis is the compilation of Kait’s two novellas and short story, previously published and available individually.  Buy them together and save!

Available in e-book from Amazon, Amazon UK, Amazon DE, Barnes and Noble, Sony, the iBookstoreDiesel Ebooks, XinXii, and Smashwords.

Also available in paperback from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, The Book Depository (for international readers) and Createspace.

Friday FabOoolousness – P.W. Creighton and Nightfall

I met P.W. Creighton on Twitter last year, and we immediately hit it off talking about some of my favorite television shows and characters.  Each week, P.W. is actually one of the first people I look to chat with about Burn Notice, Justified, American Horror Story, Psych, The Secret Circle, etc.  I mean it; we have a lot of fun.

Author P.W. Creighton

But then there is everything else about P.W. that makes him even more fantastic – he’s an Adventurer, Archaeologist, Photographer, Videographer, Tech-Geek, and Investigator.

Oh, and did I mention he writes too?  P.W. is the author of the upcoming supernatural thriller series, Nightfall, and he publishes blog posts to help other writers with the craft of storytelling.  P.W. is truly talented and a valuable resource to the rest of us trying to find our way.

Before we get to know P.W. on a more personal level, here’s a taste of Nightfall to get everyone in the mood…

Nightfall:

Three years after everyone important to Connor Maitland was murdered by a fanatical cult he is still attempting to put his life back together. Accompanied by his ex-girlfriend and business partner, Alison Herne, he is making a living as a jack-of-all-trades, running a security company, sailing charters, and even photographing weddings out of Dolliber Cove, Massachusetts. Connor’s world is finally coming back together until he discovers one of Alison’s ghost hunter friends murdered.

When Veronica, a childhood love he thought was dead, appears on his doorstep during their investigation, Connor is forced to confront memories he had convinced himself were the delusions of a man deep in grief. Veronica is being stalked by a mysterious man who appears to know far too many of her secrets, as well as Connor’s. After Alison is almost killed confronting her occult past, it is impossible for Connor to deny the connection between the cases. Someone is attempting to end Connor’s life and the lives of all those who surround him.

The crazed rantings of the murderous cult may be the key to his survival.

*****

When you were young, did you dream of one day writing a bestseller, or did you have something else in mind?

Honestly, when I was younger I was never really one for planning. I just focused on whatever adventure would come my way and took to it. When it came to writing I just kept going and the more people told me I had a gift for narratives the more I wanted to share them.

Where do you find the inspiration for your stories?

Life for one, imagination and dreams for another.

Who are a few of your favorite authors?

H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Jim Butcher, Kim Harrison and so many more.

Jim Butcher's "Storm Front" - Book One of The Dresden Files

The cover art for Nighfall is amazing.  Did you design it yourself?

I’m a bit of a perfectionist and that usually means I’m not happy with something unless I do it myself. However, the cover art was actually created by my publisher’s cover artist, Elaina Lee. She took my rambling ideas and put together something perfect.

Many writers imagine a celebrity or familiar face when developing their characters.  Did you have anyone particular in mind when writing your protagonist Connor Maitland and why?

So very true, for Connor I had the image of Eric Close from Dark Skies with the attitude and knowledge of Jeffrey Donovan from Burn Notice. The mixture of a calm, knowledgeable and creative guy thrown into extraordinary situations felt intriguing to me.

Eric Close as John Loengard in the 1996 series, Dark Skies
Michael Weston gets the job done in Burn Notice...any way he can.

Speaking of celebrities, who are you thinking of at this very moment?

Kate Beckinsale. Can’t wait to see the new Underworld movie.

Kate Beckinsale returns to theaters today as Selene in Underworld: Awakening 3-D this month

In addition to writing, photography and adventure are two of your other passions.  What other hobbies do you enjoy that we don’t know about?

Sailing, I love the open water and the quiet calm that comes with it. And gaming, yes I’m a gamer. I love the dynamic stories and creative art styles that come with excellent games.

You are one of my favorite friends to chat television with on Twitter.  What are your favorite television programs airing today?

Quite a few actually: Supernatural,  Secret Circle, Leverage, Haven, Warehouse 13, White Collar, American Horror Story, Bones, Burn Notice, Royal Pains, Psych and so forth.   

Does your love for TV carry over to the big screen?  If so, what is your favorite movie all-time?

Certainly, and if it has to be one I would have to say Goonies. No matter what I can still stop and watch that one.

Goonies...definitely one of the best movies of our time.

What snacks do you order when at a movie theater?

Popcorn with the evil butter and sour patch kids.

You write supernatural thrillers.  Name your favorite book, movie, and television series featuring the supernatural. 

Favorite book would have to be The Shining, got to love the greats. Favorite movie would be Ghostbusters, how could it not? Favorite series is Haven.

"Who ya gonna call?"

*****

Want more P.W.?  Be sure to visit his blog, follower him on Twitter for excellent writing links and fantastic television banter, and like his Facebook author page.

Nightfall will be available January 31st.  Watch for it and buy it here!

Do you have a question for P.W.?  What’s your favorite supernatural book series, television show, or movie and why?  I’d love to hear from you! 

 

Friday FabOoolousness – Jillian Dodd and finding That Boy

Earlier this summer, I found myself reluctantly attending a Meet and Greet with a few other SheWrites.com members that I’d only talked to briefly online.  Having heard repeatedly that writers need to network, I hopped in my car and drove the ten minutes to BJ’s Brewery where I met Jillian Dodd.

Author Jillian Dodd

Jill and I hit it off immediately.  Not only do we share the same profession and love for the written word, we both have a minor obsession (okay, maybe it’s a tad major) with NCAA football.  For the past decade, our alma maters even played each other in the same conference: Jill’s a Nebraska Cornhusker, and we all know I’m a Texas Tech Red Raider.  One might think this would make Jill and I instant rivals, but it didn’t; instead, we were immediate friends.

Jill and I now belong to the same writing group and she’s a frequent lunch date of mine.  We also share a love of movies and luckily live close enough to one another that we can meet at the AMC Theater on occasion for an afternoon of playtime.

Jill published her first book, That Boy, earlier this year and will soon release the sequel, That Wedding.  I hope everyone enjoys getting to know Jill just as much as I have!

That Boy:

You know, being friends with two cute boys does have its benefits.

There’s Danny, the golden boy in every way. He has dreamy blue eyes and blonde hair that always looks perfect, even when it’s windblown or has been stuck under a football helmet. He’s the boy that every girl crushes on; he’s the hot quarterback that no girl can resist, not even me. Being with Danny is like being on an adventure; he’s the boy I get into trouble with, the boy I fight with. He has a bright, contagious smile and abs to die for. He’s pretty much irresistible.

Equally crush worthy is Phillip. Adorable, sweet Phillip, who I have known since birth. Phillip has dark hair, a perfect smile, brown eyes, and the sexiest voice I have ever heard. He’s the boy I talk to every night before I go to sleep. He’s the boy who rescues me; the boy who can read my mind; the boy who is always there for me; the boy who tries to keep me out of trouble; and the boy who irritatingly keeps getting hotter, and whose strong arms always seem to find their way around me. And when he gives me that grin, I can never say no.

One boy will give me my very first kiss.
One boy will teach me to make out.
One boy will take me to prom.
And finally, one boy will ask me to marry him.
They will both be my best friends.
But only one of them will be the boy I fall in love with.

Only one of them is That Boy.

 *****

When you were a little girl, did you dream of one day writing a bestseller, or did you have something else in mind?

When I was a little girl, I loved to read, but writing never really crossed my mind. I grew up on a farm and dreamed of adventure. I wanted to be a spy. My parents owned a clothing store when I was in college, so I majored in Textiles, Clothing, and Design. I wanted to be a buyer, own a chain of stores, and make a million or so. LOL.

I never dreamed of being a writer, but I did dream about the story I wrote, which is what made me start writing. I’ve always written stories in my head for my own entertainment. Like on long drives, I would dream up and act out stories in my mind. When I was forced to clean our family’s basement every Saturday morning, it always took me forever because I acted out a musical I wrote to all the Beach Boys songs on Endless Summer.

Where do you find the inspiration for your stories?

Honestly, I dream vividly. Many of my ideas come from dreams.

Who are a few of your favorite authors?

All time favorite in Carolyn Keene, who wrote the Nancy Drew series.  For fun, I read a combination of YA and thrillers: James Rollins, David Baldacci, Lee Child, Alex Horowitz, and Sophie Kinsella.

Did you design the cover art for That Boy yourself?

I did. I illustrated the inside of the book with lots of silly little doodles. I envisioned something like what I would’ve drawn on my notebook as a teen. I also wanted something very simple that stood out amongst all the photos of people on most romances. I originally planned to do three books – That Boy has the heart; That Wedding will have a wedding cake; and That Baby would have a rattle. Simple, bold, and similar.

Many writers imagine a celebrity or familiar face when developing their characters.  Did you have anyone particular in mind when writing your characters and why?

I didn’t really for That Boy. I sorta combined some people I knew with other people’s personalities. The relationships between Danny and Lori and Phillip and Jadyn were inspired by my husband and our friendship with another couple (the guy in the couple is one of my best friends).

The new series that I’m working on is set in a boarding school and has a lot of characters, so I do have photos of each character in front of me when I write.

Speaking of celebrities, who are you thinking of at this very moment?

Joe Manganiello and Matt Bomer. Really, the entire cast of Magic Mike.

Besides writing, what other hobbies do you enjoy?

I love to paint, see movies, cook, shop, and spend time with my family. My son is a semi-pro kart racer, so I spend lots of time traveling with him as well. I’m also a bit addicted to Twitter.

You are an avid college football fan like me.  If you could play, which position would you choose and why?

Part of me wants to say the quarterback because I like to control things, but I was the pitcher for my fast pitch softball team for years, and that was a lot of pressure. When I didn’t pitch, I played first base. It was much less stress. So I’d say I’d want to be a wide receiver. Run down the field, catch the ball, and score.

I wouldn’t be myself without asking about television – what are your four favorite television programs airing today? 

I’m loving Revenge, and I LOVE Gossip Girl, even though it is NOTHING like the books. I have been doing research for That Wedding and have become addicted to David Tutera’s My Fair Wedding, as well as, Say Yes to the Dress.

 

You review a new movie every Friday on your blog, what is your favorite movie all-time?

Oh, wow. I don’t know if I could pick just one. I loved Independence Day. I can watch it over and over. I could also watch The Hangover a million times; it just keeps getting funnier. I would also include Harry Potter, Star Wars, Transformers, Talladega Nights, The Golden Child, Boomerang, and Titanic. I could go on for days. Avatar. I’ll stop now.

What snacks do you order when at a movie theater? 

I get the same thing every time – large popcorn, to which I add way more butter than is good for me, and a large Diet Coke (the Diet Coke counteracts all the calories I consume. Like, in theory.)

*****

Isn’t Jill almost like that girl we’d all like to know?!

Want more Jill?  Be sure to visit her website and blog, follower her Twitter and Goodreads, and like her Facebook author page.

And don’t forget to buy a copy of That Boy here – Jill has Kindle, Nook, iPad and PDF copies available!

Do you have a question for Jill?  Have you read That Boy, and if so share your thoughts here!  What’s your favorite love story and why?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Before we go, here’s a special sneak peek of That Wedding

I know Phillip is that boy. The boy I want to marry, my prince, my happily ever after. I feel like I’m living in a dreamy fairytale.

But then Pastor starts asking questions I don’t know the answers to.
I have horrible wedding disaster dreams.
I can’t find a dress.
I have to manipulate Phillip to get my way.
And then, an old boyfriend asks me to run away and marry him.
My best friend tells me I’m going to ruin everything.
And forever is starting to sound like a really long time.

Which makes me start to wonder…

I wonder if best friends should get married.
I wonder if I’m settling.
I wonder if the fact that sex with Phillip is so amazing that it’s clouding my judgment.
I wonder if it’s just cold feet.
I wonder if marriage is all that fun.

And then I have to decide. Am I willing to give up on true love forever, or should I say, what the hell, and marry him?

*****

HAVE A HAPPY AND SAFE NEW YEAR!

Friday FabOoolousness – Stephanie Nelson, Craved and Deceived

I met author Stephanie Nelson in a Facebook writers group, courtesy of the fabOoolous Liz Schulte.  Stephanie is one of the nicest and most supportive writers I have met.  She’s not afraid to tell us how she feels, how she accomplished her writing feats, and she doesn’t shy away from helping the rest of us accomplish our dreams.

Stephanie Nelson, Author

Stephanie’s life forever changed when she picked up the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer.  Not only did our Stephanie discover the paranormal romance genre, but her addiction to books was born.

Like most writers, Stephanie started to read book after book, liking some and disliking others.  The more she read, the faster her stories and characters formed, and she took to writing.

After approximately four years of finding her comfort zone, Stephanie found her exact story.  Earlier this year, Stephanie released Craved, a paranormal romance introducing heroin Gwen Sparks.  Her second book in the series, Deceived, hits the online markets in early January.

Before we get started, here’s a little taste of Craved and Deceived to get everyone in the mood…

Craved:

Gwen Sparks just wants to live a peaceful life in the supernatural town of Flora, but from the moment she reads about the first murdered witch, all hope of peace is abandoned. Possessing the rare ability to read the memories of the dead, she volunteers to help catch the culprit behind the string of drained witches. Gwen has to team up with the one man who broke her heart, deal with a ghost who pulls her into the deathly realm at will, and fight off the advances of sexy but frustrating vampire who not only craves what runs through her veins — he wants her heart.

Deceived:

Gwen’s life has been a downward spiral since she discovered vampires crave witches blood. She’s summoned to Moon, the town of witches, where she learns that a war is brewing and she’s the secret weapon. Paired with the Angel of Death, it becomes quickly evident that she’s more powerful than she ever realized. But this reaper isn’t the robe wearing, scythe carrying kind – he’s a ruggedly handsome handful that has his eye on Gwen. As if that isn’t enough, she’s still tormented by Ian Desperaux’s constant intrusion into her thoughts and dreams. As Gwen struggles to balance her responsibility to the witches’ council and her secret relationship with her vampire boyfriend, Aiden, she’ll soon discover exactly what it means to be DECEIVED.

*****

When you were a little girl, did you dream of one day writing a bestseller, or did you have something else in mind?

Not at all. When I was a little girl I worshiped Bobby Brown – not the R&B singer, the supermodel. I wanted to be just like her. Eventually, my dream of becoming a supermodel changed to wanting to just photograph supermodels. I prefer being behind the camera rather than in front of it.

Where do you find the inspiration for your stories?

I write what I would want to read—paranormal romance. I find that music helps me get the thoughts out of my head and onto paper. I’ve tried writing without music and I just stare at the computer screen like a confused zombie.

Who are a few of your favorite authors?

Charlaine Harris, Jeaniene Frost, Patricia Briggs, Elle Jasper, Jane Austen, Karen Marie Moning. The list could go on and on…

The cover art for your books is amazing.  Did you design them yourself?

I designed the layout for Craved but was still a newbie to Photoshop, so I paid someone to put it together for me. The Deceived cover is 100% me.

Many writers imagine a celebrity or familiar face when developing their characters.  Tell us why you chose Megan Fox for the role of Gwen.  Did you have her in mind from the development stages or later on?

I actually didn’t have any celebrity pictured while I wrote. I knew what Gwen looked like in my head, but finding someone who resembles a fictional person you have made up is a bit difficult. Megan Fox was the closest I could find that matched Gwen, at least in the looks department; their personalities so do not match.

Ditto with Matt Bomer as Aiden.  Anytime Matt is mentioned, we must find a way to weave him into the conversation….

Aiden is actually taller and more muscular, but again, Matt Bomer was as close to a real person that I could compare Aiden to. Not to mention, Matt is gorgeous and has to-die-for smirks and glances that make me sigh.

And Ryan Phillippe as Ian.  I think I froze on your website for at least thirty minutes remembering Cruel Intentions.

Yeah, well Ryan plays an excellent bad guy. Ian is sexy on the outside, and a monster on the inside. I don’t know what this says about Mr. Phillippe, but I instantly thought of him as Ian.  LOL!

Speaking of celebrities, who are you thinking of at this very moment?

Ryan Phillippe, the previous question sorta had something to do with that.  LOL!

Your Gwen Sparks series delves into the paranormal world.  What is your favorite supernatural creature and why?

I’d have to say vampires, although if I ever met one I’d be terrified. I think it has something to do with living forever, plus their strength, speed, and healing abilities. For reasons unknown, vampires have always been written as sensual characters, which I find funny since they kill us. Maybe that’s the reason why we love them. It’s like playing with fire without getting burned. I think all of the vampire craze would disappear if they really existed.

Besides writing, what other hobbies do you enjoy?

Hobbies, what are those? Since I became an author, I really don’t have time for anything else. My world now revolves around my computer, which is sad, but what are ya gonna do, ya know? I used to enjoy sewing, playing board games, fishing, and reading. Yep, even reading is rare for me now.  After I publish book two, I plan to take some time away from my computer and recharge my batteries, so maybe I’ll find time to visit my hobbies again.

I wouldn’t be myself without asking about television – what are your favorite television programs airing today? 

Psych, The Big Bang Theory, Bones, Supernatural, and The Vampire Dairies.

What is your favorite movie all-time?

Hmmm, I love movies but one that I’ll never tire of watching is Pride and Prejudice.

What snacks do you order when at a movie theater?

Nachos

Cats or Dogs?

Both, I’m a HUGE animal lover.

*****

See?  Stephanie is down to earth and as friendly as they come!

Want more Stephanie?  Be sure to visit her website and blog, follower her on Twitter, and like her Facebook author page.

In addition to the Gwen Sparks series, look for Stephanie’s first book (Taming the Wolf) in her new Anna Avery series releasing in early 2012.

Do you have a question for Stephanie?  Have you read Craved, and if so share your thoughts here!  What’s your favorite supernatural creature and why?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Friday FabOoolousness – Liz Schulte, her Secrets, and Dark Corners

I first met Liz Schulte on Twitter and now we enjoy discussing our favorite television moments, movies, and hot guys with other writer friends on Facebook.  Liz’s work first caught my eye when she shared the cover to her novel, Dark Corners, with a few of us before the release date.  Some of us call her “superwoman” on Facebook because there seems to be nothing she can’t accomplish, but the term came to full fruition when she recently released Secrets, her second book this year.

Liz Schulte, Author

Liz is one of the very first people I look to when seeking advice or direction for my writing.  She’s friendly, helpful, and one of the best writing friends a new writer could have, which is why she is the first author featured in this new blog series.

Before we get started, here’s a little tease of Liz’s books for everyone to savor while reading the interview…

Dark Corners:

Ella Reynolds knew from the first moment she walked into the old house that someone or something was watching her. Waiting. Her husband’s violent murder sent her spiraling into a world of grief and isolation. But Ella isn’t alone. Who or what is responsible for her husband’s death is still with her. Darkness has engulfed the past year of Ella’s life. Everyday reality slips a little more between her fingers as she struggles to break free from her memories. She must look deeper into her past as well as the present to discover the truth of her husband’s homicide. A string of uncanny events takes place and practical explanations run thin as Ella follows the terrifying road to closure. As the past and present come to a head, Ella must decipher who or what the murderer is before it takes her as well.

Secrets:

While Olivia Martin observed life through her camera, the abyss gazed back at her. She discovers mysterious men follow her around, people close to her are dying, and her dreams are no longer her own, as she falls head over heels for a perfect stranger. A chance encounter leads to an obsession that could destroy everything she has ever known or loved. Olivia is about to find out there is a lot she doesn’t know and sometimes what you don’t know can kill you.

*****

When you were a little girl, did you dream of one day writing a bestseller, or did you have something else in mind?

I would love to say I did, that I always knew, but I didn’t. I was pretty set on being a veterinarian until the 4th grade. Then I had a couple years of vacillating before I settled on a Supreme Court Judge.  I held that ambition right up to the point when I decided not to go to law school (I even took a philosophy of law and constitution law class while working on my undergraduate). I wasn’t entirely certain what I was going to do when suddenly I had no clear path. I considered forensic psychology and went back to school to work on a forensic degree to accompany my bachelor’s in psychology and minor in philosophy. Around that time my mom suggested I try to write a book. I am a huge pop culture fan; I love books, movies, television, and theater. I was always talking about how I would do it differently, so I decided maybe she was right. I gave it a go now I am completely addicted. I constantly have stories running through my head.

Where do you find the inspiration for your stories?

I find inspiration in everything. From talking to people, observing people, hearing stories, dreams, and sometimes all it takes is a really good first line.

At the beginning of this year I decided I wanted to write a story about witches. I started researching, combing through some notes I had from a class I took on the history of witchcraft, and a first line popped into my head.  94,000 words later I had a book (to be released in 2012). All it took was that first line and the story just poured out of me.

With Dark Corners I drew a lot from imagination and some ghostly experiences of my mother’s.

In Secrets I used a lot of dreams I had written about in my dream journal. You never know what will end up being the spark that turns into a fire. To write about life, you have to participate in it.

Who are a few of your favorite authors?

That is such a hard question. I love so many authors. As far as traditional authors I love Jane Austen, Edgar Allen Poe, Charlotte Bronte, Oscar Wilde, Hunter S. Thompson, Brett Easton Ellis, Thomas Harris, Elizabeth Aston, Diane Setterfield, and Joseph Heller.

As a kid I loved R.L. Stine (Fear Street), Christopher Pike, and L.J. Smith.

Being a part of the indie publishing scene, I have found many independent authors I have enjoyed very much: HP Mallory, Elizabeth Sharp, Stephanie Nelson, Wenona Hulsey, C. G. Powell, Jeff Ambrose, Olivia Hardin, Lisa Rayns, J.A. Titus, and I could keep going.

The cover art for your books is amazing.  Did you design them yourself?

Dark Corners was designed by my sister. She went to school for graphic design and took time from her busy schedule to design the cover for me.

Secrets was designed by Donna Dull with 4 Corners Press. She suffered my pickiness quite well.

Many writers imagine a celebrity or familiar face when developing their characters.  Did you have anyone particular in mind when writing Ella and Olivia and why?

I did not. I normally don’t have anyone in mind until I finish the book, because by then I know the character so well it is easier to find an image that suits them.

Ella is, in my mind, an Emily Blunt type character.

Olivia is now a very particular picture of Anne Hathaway I came across.

Speaking of celebrities, who are you thinking of at this very moment?

Ummm, way to put me on the spot. Hahaha

I am going with Timothy Olyphant because I cannot wait for Justified to restart. I love that show; Boyd’s hair more than anything.

 

Besides writing, I’ve noticed you’re quite the crafter and baker.  What other hobbies do you enjoy?

I do like cooking. And occasionally the crafting vibe hits me. I love to travel. I have been to several countries and all around the United States (including Alaska and Hawaii) and I absolutely love it. I no sooner finish one trip then start thinking about the next. I also love to play trivia. I get super competitive, though. I spend time with my two dogs and two cats and eight nieces and nephews. I have a very close-knit family. We all hang out a lot.

I wouldn’t be myself without asking about television – what are your favorite television programs airing today?

Today as in Wednesday or as in this half of the season, which is winding down?

My favorite Wednesday program is Revenge. I didn’t know if I would like it or not when it first started, but now I am totally hooked.

I just realized this will be published on Friday so my favorite Friday show is easily Supernatural! How could I not love the brothers Winchester. I believe it is even the mid-season finale. Yikes!

As far as this first half of the year, my favorite series playing is The Walking Dead. Amazing show. Every episode feels about five minutes long to me and I am completely enthralled with the storyline and the characters. I am so bummed I have to wait until February for new episodes.

As a movie connoisseur, what is your favorite movie of all-time?

It is Christmas time so I feel like I should choose It’s a Wonderful Life, but I cannot. While that remains in the top five favorite movies, the Godfather is hands-down my very favorite film. It is magical. The story, the characters, the cinematography and framing—beautiful. I love it so much and can talk your ear off about it if given the opportunity.

The Corleone family….just look at Pacino and Duvall here. Classic

What snacks do you order when at a movie theater? 

I like to get a bottle of water and Twizzlers. Twizzlers can be eaten slowly so I feel they last for more of the movie. Plus they are tasty and delicious.

Do you physically investigate the paranormal, or do you research via books, television, and the internet?

I don’t do much investigating. I am a bit more of a skeptic. I do like to look for haunted hotels and bed and breakfasts while I am travelling because I like to think of myself as an open-minded skeptic. I am willing to allow for an experience of a ghostly nature, but I have yet to experience anything for myself. Most of the strange things I have encountered, I can find a way to explain given enough thought and investigation.

Lastly, I know you are a zombie enthusiast.  Name your favorite book, movie, and television series featuring the supernatural undead. 

My absolute favorite zombie book is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. It seriously cracked me up. I think the author was brilliant with maintaining the charm of Austen in a world overrun by the undead.  Bennett sister ninjas, priceless.

Movie is a much harder choice. I think I have to have two because I cannot choose between them. I love Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland. Shaun of the Dead is the most hilarious spoof of a zombie movie I have ever seen. It works because it is done seriously while not being serious at all. Zombieland is almost a postmodern zombie movie. The rules are hysterical, the zombies are awesome and gross, and the story has charm.

 

Television show is of course The Walking Dead.

*****

Isn’t Liz just delightfully fun?  I absolutely adore her, and I hope you enjoyed getting to know her today!

Need more Liz?  Be sure to check out her blog, follow her on Twitter, and like her Facebook author page.

Better yet, buy a copy of Dark Corners (available in kindle, nook, and paperback formats) and Secrets (also available in kindle and nook formats)!

Do you have a question for Liz?  Have you read Dark Corners or Secrets, and if so share your thoughts here!  

And, to not only put Liz on the spot….which celebrity are you thinking of at this very moment?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Friday FabOoolousness: Long-Lost Childhood Reads

Most people love to pick up a book, curl up in their favorite chair, and read another’s words printed on the page (or on the Kindle and Nook screens).  Some read to relax, and others to stimulate their minds, while most read to temporarily escape from whatever current reality surrounds them.

Those that like to read started with books in their hands when they were very small.  Many, like me, raced to the bedroom at night so that mommy and daddy could read a bedtime story before turning out the lights.

Most children enjoy the classic fairy tales such as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Peter Pan, Rapunzel, or Snow White.

I read the classics, but the Serendipity Book Series by Stephen Cosgrove was my favorite read as a child.  These books each teach an important lesson like most fairy tales, but sadly this series doesn’t have the same popularity with children today.

The one that I probably read the most was about a little bunny named Leo, whose ears weren’t like the other bunnies in the field.  Leo the Lop shares a great message for all ages alike – “normal is whatever you are.”  Don’t the children today need to hear this message?

Muffin Dragon (also known as The Muffin Muncher) teaches the important lesson of sharing after a village dragon eats all of the baker’s muffins.

Sassafras, the little elephant, learns that imitating others isn’t very kind after she hears an echo of her very words.

Flutterby, the little flying Pegasus, flutters about trying to discover exactly who and what she is.  It takes meeting a wise butterfly for Flutterby to see her true beauty in her reflection.

Freezing, The Gnome from Nome seeks desperately to find a way to warm up, and when he meets a sea otter learns that true warmth stems from friendships.

Shimmeree and her other crystal horse friends learn that they don’t have to fear the unknown after she discovers a seed that blooms into a beautiful rose spreading beauty across the land.

There are over 50 books in the Serendipity series, but these six hooked me as a child and so began my addiction to reading.  Luckily for me, my Serendipity books are safe and sound in my mother’s cedar chest along with my baby blanket and other childhood keepsakes.

As I grew up, I read books all the time, some more than once like Charlotte’s Web and Little Women.  Reading for enjoyment during the early years undoubtedly helps a child transition when reading becomes an assignment in school.

Maybe the fabOoolous Serendipity series is the reason I have an addiction to buying books today?  Maybe Cosgrove is one of the reasons I write?

Regardless, I can’t recommend books enough, and Leo the Lop, Muffin Dragon, Sassafras, Flutterby, The Gnome from Nome, and Shimmeree deserve all the credit for creating this word lover.  Oh, and my parents.

What books did you read as a child?  Do you read those same books to your children today? Have you read any of Cosgrove’s Serendipity Series?    I’d love to hear from you!

Friday FabOoolousness – The “Kiss and Kill Murder”

The time was 1961, and the place was Odessa, Texas.  High school football was king, and still is today.

In the ‘60s, teenagers lived for their weekly pep-rallies and frequent trips to Tommy’s Drive-In for their ice-cold cherry cokes.

Teens also spared no expense in driving up and down the strip, or cruisin’ as it was called.  After all, gas was cheap back then.

Teenage girls appeared innocent with their ponytails, bobby-socks, and penny-loafer shoes.

Not seventeen year old Betty Williams.

Elizabeth J. Williams lived with devout Christian parents.  Her father prohibited her from normal teenage activities such as dating and seeing movies, especially anything with Elvis Presley.

What sometimes happens with overly protective parents? Betty defied the rules.

She was flirtatious, and sometimes aggressive with the boys.  She mocked teachers and other girls, and didn’t shy away from making inappropriate comments.  She would wear tight clothing revealing more than she should, and she just didn’t care – outwardly, anyway.

Betty dreamed of leaving Odessa and becoming an actress, but her reputation stood in the way of her dreams.  She was overlooked during the casting of Our Town as “Emily” because she wasn’t innocent enough, but not being cast in Winterset really upset Betty.

Mack Herring was cast in Winterset, as “Garth” – the killer.  Mack played football at Odessa High School, and was Betty’s ex-boyfriend, many times removed.

The two teens had a tumultuous relationship.  They fought constantly, but couldn’t stay away from each other.  Publicly though, Mack refused to be seen with Betty.

After losing Mack and the play, Betty did the unthinkable.  She asked to die.  According to friends, she asked quite a few girls in class to kill her.  The girls of course didn’t take her seriously; Betty was an actress.

Late at night on March 21, 1961, Betty rode with Mack to a stock pond outside Odessa wearing only her pink pajamas.  Being a perfect gentleman, Mack helped Betty down out of his jeep and wrapped his red and white letter jacket around her to keep her warm.  The two walked together to the pond, where she asked for a kiss.

The two teens kissed, and Betty knelt down in front of Mack on the ground where he had removed the rocks and pebbles for her.

Mack picked up the 12-guage shot-gun that he had brought with them, held it to her head, and pulled the trigger after Betty said, “Now.”

From “Washed in the Blood” p. 84, 2004, Bristol Publishing Company

After a few days, Mack led the police out to the scene of the crime.  He immediately pointed to the stock pond where he had placed Betty’s body, remembering the exact location because he had centered himself between two mesquite trees before putting her into the water.

Mack never denied planning the murder or killing Betty.

Needless to say, murder charges were brought against Mack and his trial began in February, 1962.  Although he wasn’t the star athlete, the trial gave him celebrity status.  High school girls, known as “Mack’s Girls” filled the courtroom to support him.

The media soon named the shooting, “The Kiss and Kill Murder.”

The trial took place in Winkler County, since the stock pond was physically located within Winkler’s county lines.  Former Odessa District Attorney, Warren Burnett served as Mack’s defense attorney, while Andrews’ County District Attorney, Dan Sullivan represented the state.

In opening statements, Burnett clearly indicated that he had no intentions of disputing the murderous plot, or the fact that his client shot and killed Betty Williams.  He did, however, shock the courtroom when he announced that the court must first prove Mack’s sanity at the time of the murder.

Burnett continued to rock the courtroom when he introduced an apparent suicide letter written by Betty:

“I want everyone to know that what I am about to do no way implicates anyone else.  I say this to make sure that no blame falls on anyone other than myself.

“I have depressing problems that concern, for the most part, myself.  I am waging a war within myself, a war to find the true me and I fear that I am losing the battle.

“So rather than admit defeat I am going to beat a quick retreat into the no man’s land of death. As I have only the will and not the fortitude necessary, a friend of mine, seeing how great is my torment, has graciously consented to look after the details.

“His name is Mack Herring and I pray that he will not have to suffer for what he is doing for my sake. I take upon myself all the blame, for it lies on me alone.” – Betty Williams (Washed in the Blood, p 102-103).

Burnett called other classmates of Betty’s to the stand to testify that she also approached them for assistance in her death.  His star witness, psychiatrist Dr. Marvin Grice, testified that after Betty repeatedly asked Mack to kill her, Mack lost his ability to reason and agreed.

On Saturday, February 25, 1962, the jury found Mack Herring innocent by reason of temporary insanity.  The result was the same later that year when Mack’s sanity was tried again, this time in Beaumont, Texas by the Texas Supreme Court.

No one really won in this case. Betty was gone, and Mack’s life would never be the same again.  While Mack was looked at as a star during his trial, the celebrity faded and he slowly became a pariah.

Betty is still known around town as the “Ghost of Odessa High School” where she lingers around the school’s theatre.  She’s also known as “The Original Drama Mama.”

For more about the tragic story of Betty Williams, read Washed in the Blood, a novel written by her cousin, Shelton Williams.

Shelton “Shelly” Williams attended the high school across town at the time of his cousin’s murder.  He was actually a classmate of my mother’s and my aunt’s, which is one reason why I’m so intrigued by this story.   Washed in the Blood is a fabOoolous read, and I highly recommend to anyone that loves true-crime stories.

It was rumored that Hollywood, including actress Moira Kelly (Twin Peaks, Cutting Edge, and One Tree Hill), was interested in adapting Betty’s story to a screen play.  I’m not sure where the project is today, but I can only hope to see it come to fruition one day.

Were you familiar with the “Kiss and Kill Murder”?  Did you know of any particular person during your high school years that resembled misunderstood youth similar to Betty?  Do you think Mack was indeed temporarily insane?  What true-crime story has affected you?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now, to lighten the mood, check out Lyn Midnight’s post – The Blog of Fame: Google Brain Farts.  Oh, how search engines amaze…

Friday FabOoolousness – New York Times bestselling author, James Rollins

On Saturday, May 7th, I was sitting around (eh-hem, I mean doing research) watching television, when I decided to give a shout out to a fellow Twitter-mate that Kristen Lamb had recently introduced me to.  Imagine my surprise when he responded that he was at the Pirates premiere in California and would tweet more after the movie.

Questions started circling in my head: Pirates premiere?  In California?  The Pirates of the Caribbean premiere?  Pirates, as in Captain Jack Sparrow and Johnny Depp? 

The answer to all of those questions was – YES!

New York Times bestselling author James Rollins

Who in the world had Kristen just introduced me too?  Don’t get me wrong, I knew the name James Rollins, but was @jamesrollins the James Rollins?  The James Rollins New York Times bestselling author??

Did I think that I had been chatting with a NYT bestselling author the past few weeks?  No, I didn’t.  Had I actually been chatting to a NYT bestselling author on Twitter?  Yes, I had! 

For those who may not know, James Rollins is indeed a New York Times bestselling author.  He’s written over sixteen books as James Rollins, and seven under the pen name James Clemons.  His works span several genres including action-adventure, thriller, suspense, mystery, and fantasy.  For all you Indiana Jones fans, James wrote the novelization of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in 2008. 

We could celebrate James for any of his many accomplishments.  For one, he’s a licensed veterinarian.  We could also celebrate James for any one of his literary series, like his Jake Ransom series for children and adults; his many individual works such as Subterranean or Ice Hunt; his short stories, including his most recent release: The Skeleton Key; his The Banned and the Banished series; but, today we’re celebrating James for his SIGMA Force series

James Rollins' SIGMA Force Series

The first novel in the SIGMA series, Sandstorm, was released in June, 2004.  The SIGMA Force is a fictional division inside the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and consists of highly trained and skilled operatives as well as expert scientists whose primary focus is fighting terrorism and protecting sensitive and confidential information. 

The SIGMA series also includes Map of Bones (May, 2005), Black Order (June, 2006), The Judas Strain (July, 2007), The Last Oracle (June, 2008), and The Doomsday Key (June, 2009).

Guess what?  It’s June, 2011.  Do you know what that means?  It’s time for a new SIGMA Force novel! 

The Devil Colony, book number seven in the SIGMA series, releases this Tuesday, June 21st

Join us, Tuesday, at the world premier launch party of The Devil Colony!  Find us gathering for twenty-four hours on Twitter in the hashtag #DevilColony.  This gathering may be online, but make no mistake – this will be a HUGE cyber-party. 

What’s the party’s theme?  You guessed it – Devil

Dress up for a costume party, or dress up for a fancy New York or Los Angeles book release party.  Wear devil costumes, eat deviled eggs or deviled ham, and take pictures!  Not in the costume mood?  Put on that sexy cocktail dress and high heels or your Mad Men suit, and take pictures!  Post all of your pictures on twitter in the #DevilColony hashtag.  Why

James will stop by periodically to say “Hi” to all of his friends, family, and fans.  Why else? 

James will also select his favorite pictures from our cyber-party and post them on his site’s Wall of Fame.  Why else? 

The best pictures will win a big mystery prize

Camera shy?  That’s okay!  Join us anyway.  Tuesday’s #DevilColony hashtag will be the social event of the Twitter-verse.  Come, have fun and hang out! 

Do all the writers out there need added incentive?  This is James Rollins, the NYT bestselling author.  What if other agents, editors, and bestselling authors stop by?  Do you really want to miss that opportunity? 

All success aside, James Rollins is an everyday guy.  He’s funny, smart, compassionate (he’s a veterinarian for goodness sake), and most importantly, he’s my friend.  

In the meantime, stop by James’ website here and his bookshelf here!

Check out Jenny Hansen’s fun post about James here and read a fun interview with James by Kristen Lamb here

Have you read any of James’ books?  Will you join us Tuesday at our cyber-party?  Have you ever pinched yourself when you realized you were talking to one of your favorite authors via social media?   Leave a comment and share; I’d love to hear from you! 

Friday FabOoolousness – Robert B. Parker’s Jesse Stone

Remember the television series, Spenser: for Hire, starring Robert Urich as the crime fighting private detective who loved to cook alongside Julia Child? And his best friend, Hawk, played by Avery Brooks?  I can still hear Hawk’s voice as he called out Spenser’s name in his extra Hawk-like syllables, “Spen-saaaar.”  The hit show was adapted from the bestselling novels written by Robert B. Parker, and the novel and TV show’s success in the 1980s paved the way for four Spenser made-for-television movies in the 1990s.

In 1997, Robert B. Parker published the first in yet another series of nine bestselling novels featuring a new protagonist: Jesse Stone.

Night Passage (1997)

Trouble in paradise (1998)

Death in Paradise (2001)

Stone Cold (2003)

Sea Change (2006)

High Profile (2007)

Stranger in Paradise (2008)

Night and Day (2009)

Split Image (2010, published posthumously)

Before his death in January 2010, Parker saw television success again with his second adaptation: a made-for-television movie series, with none other than the great Tom Selleck portraying Jesse Stone.

Jesse leads a troubled life: he’s a former baseball star who quit playing due to an injury; his marriage to a movie-star, Jenn Stone, failed; he’s a disgraced former homicide detective fired from the force because of his drinking problem; and, now he’s the Police Chief in the small town of Paradise near Boston, despite having interviewed for the position while drunk.

The small town of Paradise grows on Jesse, and he works diligently to solidify his small police force (Deputy Suitcase: nicknamed after Jesse’s favorite baseball player “Suitcase” Simpson, and Molly: loyal policewoman, mother, and wife), and eliminates the big-city crime that has forced its way into the otherwise quiet community.  He not only battles the bad guys, but he constantly teeters back and forth with his own personal demons: his ex-wife, alcoholism and depression.

Tom Selleck was first introduced as Jesse Stone by CBS in 2005.  CBS started the TV movies with Stone Cold, the fourth book in Parker’s series, and then back-tracked with a prequel the very next year:

Stone Cold (2005)

Jesse Stone: Night Passage (2006)

 Jesse Stone: Death in Paradise (2006)

Jesse Stone: Sea Change (2007)

Similar to most adaptations, the television movies differ slightly from the novels.  For example, in the books, Parker writes Jesse’s character in his mid 30s, but Tom plays Jesse as bit older on TV.  Also, in the televised Night Passage, Jesse is not drunk in his Paradise Police Chief interview, he’s only miserably hung-over from drinking the night before.  Another difference on CBS’s adaptation of Stone Cold, Jesse finds the murder victim’s dog at the scene of the crime.  Jesse adopts the dog, and the dog and Jesse share a close relationship throughout the rest of the movies.  In the novels, Jesse never has a dog.  Minor details though, right?

 

The remaining Jesse Stone television specials were not adapted from Parker’s novels, but writers Tom Selleck and Michael Brandman remain true to Parker’s Paradise and his flawed main character.

Jesse Stone: Thin Ice (2009)

Jesse Stone: No Remorse (2010)

The television movies are packed with familiar faces.  Selleck and Brandman introduced a new member of Jesse’s team in Thin Ice: the fabOoolous Kathy Bates as Rose.  Other recognizable actors frequent the movies in cameo roles such as Stephen McHattie as Captain Healy, William DeVane as Dr. Dix, Saul Rubinek as Hasty Hathaway, and William Sadler as mob-boss, Gino Fish.

 

Robert B. Parker was quoted saying, “Tom nails the character.”  Selleck is Stone; Selleck delivers Jesse’s dry, matter-of-fact one-liners perfectly, and always portrays the best television detective (who will ever forget Selleck as Thomas Magnum in Magnum P.I.), and police officer (he does it again as Francis Regan in Blue Bloods).  Tom Selleck gets better with age, doesn’t he?

This Sunday, May 22nd, Tom Selleck returns to CBS in Jesse Stone: Innocents Lost.  Check it out!

What are some of your favorite novels that have been adapted to television or the big screen? Did the adaptation stay true to the book, or did they stray?  Will Tom Selleck always be Thomas Magnum, or are you warming up to him as Jesse Stone?  Which actor and/or actress do you imagine as a character in the novels that you read – and why?  I’d love to hear from you!

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